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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘comptroller’

One Third of Public Complaints to Israel’s Ombudsman ‘Justified’

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Retired Judge Joseph Shapira, who serves as both State Comptroller and Ombudsman, on Monday submitted his annual Report to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Edelstein noted that the number of public complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s office last year – 15,000, marks an increase from 2014.

“This is a positive statistic which shows that the citizens are fighting bureaucracy and foolishness, but it also shows that there are many more issues which must be dealt with, particularly when a third of the complaints were found to be justified,” said the Knesset speaker.

“The complaints were handled in a professional, thorough and fair manner, and perhaps this will motivate citizens to file more complaints,” Edelstein added, saying, “I am certain that the people in the State Comptroller’s Office, whom I thank for their dedicated work, will provide the appropriate professional service wherever necessary.”

State Comptroller Shapira said in response that “it’s important that the public is showing concern and is not willing to ignore [violations]. There are companies where the percentage of justified complaints was [very high]. At the Israel Postal Company, for instance, some 69 percent of the complaints were found to be justified. It is [gratifying] to see that the public is taking this matter seriously. It contributes to a better society.”

Besides the postal service, the government bodies with the highest number of justified complaints were: Ministry of Transport and Road Safety – 52%, Broadcast Authority – 48%, the IDF – 44%, Israel Electric Company – 41%, and Ministry of Education – 40%.

Government agencies with 100 complaints or more in 2015 were: National Insurance Institute (Israel’s Social Security agency), The Israel Postal Company Ltd., Israel Police, Ministry of Economy and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, Ministry of Housing and Construction, and Israel Tax Authority.

Shapira said that in 2015 he issued 20 orders which legally protect citizens who expose corruption, 15 temporary and 5 permanent. “This is above the average [number of orders],” he noted.

2015 saw an increase of 25% of complaints filed online.

State Control Committee Chairperson MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) said the report indicates that the complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s Office relate to the daily affairs of the country’s citizens. “I call on all the government offices to [work together] so that corruption will gradually subside,” she said.

The principal function of Israel’s state comptroller is to review the legality, regularity, efficiency, economy, and ethical conduct of public institutions. The reviews are performed by ongoing as well as spot inspections of the financial accounts and activities of all ministries, the armed forces and security services, local government agencies, and any corporations, enterprises, or organizations subsidized or managed by the state to any extent.

By law, the State Comptroller also functions as Ombudsman to whom members of the public may send complaints about actions by governmental bodies that have caused them harm.

JNi.Media

IDF Chief Cancels Hannibal Directive to Prevent Capture at All Cost

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot has recently ordered the cancellation of the Hannibal Directive, to be replaced by a new directive which is being worked out, Ha’aretz reported on Tuesday, citing a senior IDF source who claims the chief’s decision had been reached independent of a leaked draft of the State Comptroller which recommends taking out the Hannibal option.

According to Israeli media, the Hannibal Directive was conceived in 1986 by a group of top Israeli officers following the capture of two Israeli soldiers during a Hezbollah ambush in South Lebanon in June 1986. Both soldiers presumably died during the attack, and their bodies were returned to Israel in an exchange with Hezbollah in 1996. The directive authorizes stopping abductors by shooting at them, even if it puts captured Israeli soldiers at risk. There is a dispute as to whether the directive includes authorization to kill captured IDF soldiers when it becomes clear that they cannot be rescued. Some reports have claimed that the policy actually promotes the killing of captured soldiers to prevent the need for prisoner exchanges.

On Tuesday Israeli media reported a leak from a draft recommendation by State Comptroller Retired Judge Joseph Shapiro, which had been handed to seniors in the political, military and judiciary echelons as part of the comptroller’s report on the 2014 Gaza War.

The Hannibal Directive was last executed in connection with the kidnapping of Lt. Hadar Goldin of the Givati special force, during the Rafah battle in August 2014, remembered as Black Friday. Once it was known that Goldin had been kidnapped, a widespread chase ensued, which included infantry units as well as a mass shelling of the area, which resulted in the deaths of many civilians.

Eventually it turned out that Goldin had been killed during the kidnapping attempt, and his body is being kept as a bargaining chip by the Hamas. The Military Attorney General at the time, Gen. Danny Efroni, and the new MAG Gen. Sharon Afek have both considered and decided to forego a criminal investigation of the event, because of international criticism over the large number of collateral civilian casualties.

JNi.Media

State Comptroller Draft Report Reveals Ya’alon Brazenly Refused to Attack Hamas Tunnels

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

The texts of meeting protocols which were used in the State Comptroller’s draft report on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge, offer a peek into the intense political pressure used mainly by Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) to force a reluctant IDF and defense ministry brass to take action against the Hamas terror tunnels reaching inside Israel, Channel 2 News revealed Saturday night.

One mindblowing revelation in the report is that Defense Minister Ya’alon, famous for his recent encouragement of IDF officers to speak their minds, no matter what, was in the habit, during the security cabinet meetings, of forcing those same officers to remain silent if their views did not match his own. Some Israeli commentators have already speculated that Ya’alon chose to leave over an “ideological” dispute with Prime Minister Netanyahu, rather than to be pushed out over the upcoming condemning Comptroller’s report.

The security cabinet convened on the day of the discovery of the bodies of three Jewish youths who had been kidnapped by Hamas operatives. At the meeting, Former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, now retiring Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and the Shabak — all shared the view that Hamas was not seeking a large-scale confrontation with Israel. In the meeting, Minister of the Economy and of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebrman (Yisrael Beiteinu) both warned they would vote against a weak military retaliation.

At the same meeting, the protocols show Bennett mentioning dozens of Hamas attack tunnels and the fear that Hamas would use them for a strategic attack. This information should be viewed in the context of the 2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapping. The Shalit kidnapping was executed in a Hamas raid using a cross-border underground tunnel. It resulted in the 2011 prisoner exchange fiasco, in which PM Netanyahu, fearing for his popularity, released 1,027 Arab security prisoners, many with Jewish blood on their hands.

On that first security cabinet of the Gaza War, before the forces had been launched, Netanyahu told Ya’alon: “I would like to see plans for taking care of the tunnels, even if this would lead to an escalation and to rocket fire.” But the meeting ended without resolutions.

24 hours later, the security cabinet convened again, twice. Ya’alon presented a report saying that Egypt claims Hamas is calling for restraint.

Bennett then asked, “What will happen if they use the tunnels the way did with Gilad Shalit?”

Netanyahu answered that “a penetrating ground operation might drag Israel into conquering Gaza.”

And Ya’alon said, on the record, “If we don’t act, Hamas won’t use the tunnels.”

“Are we going to hear the plan to take care of the tunnels?” Bennett insisted, and Netanyahu explained that the army still needs to discuss those plans. Bennett responded impatiently, “They should have done their homework already.”

Another 24 hours later, Shabak presented intelligence reports of an attack tunnel near the Jewish community of Kerem Shalom. However, the Shabak head assured the security cabinet: “Strategically, the Hamas has no intention of using the tunnels.” Bennett asked him how he knew this, and the Shabak head did not respond.

Bennet: Is it possible to destroy the tunnels?

Gantz: There are a few options of action.

Bennett: Is there a plan?

Ya’alon: Yes.

Gantz: We should leave the decision of taking care [of the tunnels] to when we decide whether we’re going in on the ground and how.

According to Channel 2, Gantz was referring to the option of bombing the tunnel openings from the air, using intelligence reports.

On July 3, 2014, at the next security cabinet meeting, the IDF once again argues that Hamas does not intend to use the tunnels, which results in confrontation between various ministers. At some point, Bennett called IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz a “lazy horse,” saying that the forces in the field are eager to go into Gaza and finish the job once and for all, but the high command is preventing them.

Netanyahu: Attacking the tunnels would make it difficult to expose and thwart them.

Bennett: There is a scenario of a mass attack coming out of the tunnels.

Gantz: If we exit from a tunnel and they’ll shoot at us from some hilltop, and we’ll take it over, and then another hill, and another, we’ll find ourselves in the heart of Gaza. We could be dragged into conquering the Strip.”

Bennett: [But] we decide how and when to exit.

Ya’alon: Forces would be sucked in. It’s preferable to try and calm the situation.

Only at this stage, less than one week before the July 8 start of the war, did the Southern Command form a “forward defense” plan to deal with the tunnels. The plan was presented to the chief of staff and the defense minister, who chose not to present it to the cabinet the next time it convenes, July 7, 2014. Bennett nevertheless insisted on adding the taking care of the tunnels to the operation’s goals. Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon object.

Ya’alon: It’s wrong to define a goal of stripping Hamas of its tunnels at this stage, the Egyptians are working on a ceasefire.

Head of the NSC Yossi Cohen: We’ve asked the chief of staff already, and he says they’re doing the best they can, but we can’t destroy all of them.

Bennett and Lieberman, who appear to have done their homework, want to know if the army had examined all the options, including going in on the ground.

Shabak head: The IDF has decided at this stage not to go in on the ground.

Southern Command Chief, Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman, attended the July 10, 2014 security cabinet meeting. Only then was the IDF plan of dealing with the tunnels presented to the ministers.

Bennett: How deep will this draw us in?

Turgeman: There will be friction, but we shouldn’t exaggerate [the consequences].

Bennett then asked Turgeman what he would have done in his, Bennett’s shoes, at which point Ya’alon and Gantz retorted that, “he is not you, he is not in your shoes.” So Bennett defered and asked, “Fine, what would you have done in your own shoes?”

Here is when both Gantz and Ya’alon tried to force their subordinate Turgeman to shut up. Remember Moshe Ya’alon, who has grabbed so much attention urging IDF officers to speak their minds even if it contradicted the accepted dogmas? Even, in fact, if it could be perceived as a kind of coups d’état? Turns out that when one of Ya’alon’s top officers was trying to voice an opinion different from the boss’s, it was not greeted lovingly. Finally, Netanyahu asked Turgeman to respond.

Turgeman: In your shoes or in mine, I would take action.

Lieberman then said, “We have to go on everything or nothing. Either conquer Gaza or stop everything.” But according to the protocols, all the other ministers objected.

Should be interesting when the same question comes up again, except this time around Lieberman would be running the army.

JNi.Media

Israel State Comptroller’s Report Details Housing Crisis

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Israel’s state comptroller Joseph Shapira released his report Wednesday on the nation’s housing crisis, detailing a 55 percent rise in the price of a home between 2008 and 2013.

According to the 294 page report, rent costs rose by 30 percent in the same period, and that “no solution was found” by the Netanyahu government. Wage raises did not match the skyrocketing prices, the report noted, and,”The various government departments responded with no strategic plan of action in the long term, and without having set any goals.”

What was once a given – the Israeli tradition of both sets of parents splitting the cost of buying an apartment for their children when the young couple marries – is today a given no longer. For many Israelis the high cost of living has put the tradition entirely out of reach. Rents are also significantly higher, even in communities located in the “periphery.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party released a statement in response to the damning report, saying that only a strong government led by Netanyahu could resolve the crisis, “just as we did with many other reforms and deep institutional changes we implemented, which made the Israeli economy strong and competitive.”

Former Likud MK and current candidate Prof. Benny Begin told the Anglo Voters’ debate at Cinema City in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, “In 2009, less than 20,000 apartments were being built annually. This year with Housing Minister Uri Ariel, 50,000 were built. But we need a stable government, a strong backbone and a strong Likud to keep one government in place in order to continue that trend,” he emphasized.

Yisrael Beytenu candidate Ashley Perry, also present at the debate, said his party would strengthen the economy and the housing market by helping families purchase new homes with a mortgage designed to avoid the difficult issue of the 33 percent out-of-reach down payment. For Israelis who have served their country via the military, Perry said, there should be a 90 percent mortgage incentive plan and after-school programs for working mothers to help them earn a living.

Yesh Atid MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, another candidate present at Wednesday evening’s Ango Vote debate, also underlined the fact that more than 50,000 housing units were built this past year but said his party chairman had been sabotaged. “The plan was to build thousands of rental units as well,” he said, “but there was not enough time for Yesh Atid to implement our entire housing improvement plan, which involved an increase of NIS 10 billion in the 2015 budget. It was on the table when elections were called. We wanted to pass the budget, and then call the elections – but the prime minister refused.”

Yachad candidate Hillik Bar also blamed the prime minister, noting that at least two million Israelis live in rented housing. “It’s a jungle,” he said. “This government has made no attempt to reduce the price of housing.”

Bayit Yehudi candidate Uri Banks slammed Yesh Atid party chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid altogether over the issue, saying he “came in with a foolish plan which increased demand without the supply to meet it. He committed suicide on that plan and brought us to these elections.”

Hana Levi Julian

‘Dump Bibi’ Panting for Comptroller’s Report on Housing Crisis

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

The office of the State Comptroller and Ombudsman stated Sunday that it will release the report on the housing crisis before the elections and possibly by the end of the week.

A decision on the exact date of relapse will be made in the next couple of days.

Israel’s anti-Netanyahu establishment media and the Herzog-Livni “Zionist Camp” party are antsy-pantsy for the report that they hope will serve as the damning piece of news they woefully lack to give them a victory in the elections.

The report probably will be sharply critical of both the Olmert and Netanyahu governments for the constantly high price of homes, a situation that has existed more or less since 1948.

If the report goes back a couple years before the Olmert administration, it will include the Sharon government, whose Housing Minister in 2005 was none other than Yitzchak Herzog. One year before, the minister was – are you ready? – Tzipi Livni.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

NY Paper Lists Eliot Spitzer’s Sins on Front Page

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The New York Daily News let loose its succinct analysis of former New York State governor and current candidate for New York City Comptroller Eliot Spitzer’s character and its hopes for his future on its front page over the weekend.  There was a news article inside the paper that went into far greater detail, but the front page, as captured in a picture by Breitbart, said it all.

“Liar, criminal, sex cheat, fraudster – and he still wants your trust,” and then, in huge typeface and all capital letters: “scr*w you!”

For those who have not yet been paying attention, Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign his position as governor of New York in 2008 when it was revealed that, despite a history as an aggressive prosecutor of prostitutes and pimps while he was NY’s attorney general, had his own history of frequenting high-end call girls.

After a year or two out of the spotlight, Spitzer went back out in public with a vengeance.  He wrote for a widely-read online magazine, and in 2010 he became the cohost of a talk show on CNN.  Earlier this year Spitzer announced he was a candidate for the position of New York City’s Comptroller.

The position of City Comptroller, not typically considered a high-profile one, is one laden with potential.

The comptroller is really the chief financial officer of the city, and New York’s is responsible for 700 employees.  As comptroller, Spitzer would be responsible for ensuring the financial health of NYC, advising the mayor and city council about all the city’s programs, operations, fiscal policies and financial transactions.

That is a big job, one with plenty of potential for lots of photo ops and high profile “gotchas,” the kind Spitzer loved when he was in his heyday as the “Sheriff of Wall Street.”

But if the Daily News has anything to say about it, Spitzer will not become “NYC’s piggybank sheriff.” In addition to the screaming front page headline, there was an article endorsing Spitzer’s opponent, Scott Stringer, Manhattan’s borough president.

The New York Times also endorsed Stringer, as did the New York Post.

But it is Spitzer who may have the last laugh.  Recent polls show him with nearly a 20 point lead over Stringer.

On the other hand, maybe not.

Spitzer’s wife, Silda, stood by her husband throughout his public disgrace.  However, after Spitzer announced this spring that he was again running for public office, Silda has been a no-show on the campaign trail. There are reports she will seek a divorce from Spitzer as soon as the campaign is over.

Spitzer’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

NY City Comptroller Candidate Kristin Davis Arrested

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Police have arrested New York City Comptroller Kristin Davis, a former madam who supplied prostitutes through an escort service, on charges of selling prescription pills containing controlled substances.

Davis, 38, is accused of selling hundreds of pills, as recently as this past April, with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. She was charged with four counts of distributing, and she could be convicted for up to 20 years in jail on each count.

Davis has said that former governor and current comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer was one of her clients.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ny-city-comptroller-candidate-kristin-davis-arrested/2013/08/06/

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